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2015 Red Rock Rendezvous: Climbing, Clinics, Demos, and More!

March 25th, 2015

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As Spring blooms, so does our excitement for the 12th Annual Red Rock Rendezvous which takes place in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas, NV and is hosted by Osprey Packs retailer Mountain Gear. This year is guaranteed to be a great one — attendees will be coming in from across the nation to enjoy a weekend of climbing, clinics, demos, storytelling and much more!

Those interested in experiencing premiere rock climbing, desert single-track mountain biking, trail running and much more will gather at the mighty red rocks that overlook the event. The crowd will range from top outdoor industry brands to expert outdoor athletes to novice enthusiasts interested in learning more – everyone is welcome and all RRR attendees will leave after an experience like no other!

What’s going on March 27-29, 2015 at

Red Rock Rendezvous:

Clinics with Exceptional Athletes: Mountain biking, climbing, running, or general backcountry skills – you name it and there’s a clinic for it! With over 75+ clinics, you’re bound to find something that interests you. Taught by experts in the field, these clinics provide a unique, hands-on experience in a small group setting.

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Dyno Competition, Dance Parties, Pancake Eating Contest and More! Be sure to check the schedule because this weekend is jampacked with a variety of fun games, on-site events, and presentations. You won’t want to miss the famous Red Rock Rendezvous Dyno Comp. in which participants put their dynamic climbing skills to the test! The same goes for the live music and other games put on by the sponsors of Red Rock Rendezvous — there’s a lot of fun to be had this weekend in the desert!

 Now that you have an idea of what Red Rock Rendezvous is all about, let’s fill you in on what’s happening at the Osprey Packs booth:

NEW for Spring 2015: Come by to check out the latest at Osprey Packs as we will have our select Spring ’15 product such as the Syncro Series and the revolutionary Atmos/Aura Anti-Gravity Series, and much more! Our on-site staff will show you all the latest and greatest and will be able to answer any questions you may have!AG Fit Station_Final_resend

Demo Packs at Red Rock Rendezvous and Feel the Osprey Difference:  We’ve got your back and will have our demo fleet of bike, climbing, and running packs available all weekend! Stop by the booth and talk with our team of expert pack fitters and outdoor enthusiasts who can help you make the best selection for your needs. Available demo packs at RRR include our Endurance/Trail packs, the Rev Series and 2015 Syncro Series as well as our Vertical Endeavor packs like the Mutant Series and Variant Series!

Our Anti-Gravity Fit Station: Revolutionary. Innovative. And maybe a little bit magic: our award-winning Anti-Gravity™ Suspension system provides seamless comfort that contours the body allowing a trail experience like no other.  Combined with custom capability and a full feature set, the Atmos AG™  sets a new standard in ventilated backpacking. Interested in what it feels like? Stop by our booth to try AG for yourself at our Anti-Gravity Fit Station.

Trail Running Clinics with Osprey Athlete Ben Clark: Interested in getting on the trail? Learn from the best at RRR — Osprey Athlete Ben Clark will be available to share his knowledge of trail running with anyone interested in pursing this growing outdoor endeavor!

Wscreen-shot-2014-11-28-at-8-09-23-pmin an Osprey Pack: Have 3 minutes to spare? Great! Couldn’t be easier to enter to win! Take our short event survey for a chance to win an Osprey pack!

“Creme de la Creme” Giveaways: Just another great reason to stop by the Osprey Packs booth — we’ll be giving away custom Osprey hats, coozies for your bevy, organic lipbalm, and much more!

 

Needless to say, it will be a great time in the desert and we hope to see you there! Don’t forget to the visit Red Rock Rendezvous Facebook page for updates!

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Active Lifestyle, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Riding Cancer into the Ground

March 15th, 2015

Riding to work - phto by U of C photographer

I woke up at the usual time, 5:30 AM, on the morning of my last radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

It had been a long haul; from diagnosis of the most aggressive form of what is more typically a slow-growing cancer in October 2011, to surgery in November. Then started the 38 radiation treatments: five days a week for two months during the summer of 2012. I had asked my radiation oncologist, Dr. Stanley Liauw at the University Of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, if I would able to ride my bike to every treatment. It was a 44-mile round-trip from my home in Evanston, a northern suburb along Lake Michigan, to the Cancer Center in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South side.

“Well,” Stan said, “we’ll see how you feel about halfway through.” Read more…

Active Lifestyle, Ditch Your Car, Osprey Life, The Cycling Buzz , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We’re Headed to Outerbike in Moab, UT – March 13 – 15

March 12th, 2015

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“Test out the all of the latest and greatest bikes on the world-class trails of Moab, Utah. For three days, the world’s best bike and gear manufacturers will be set up at the Outerbike Expo site. You can walk through and see next year’s innovations, pick a bike you’d like to try and take it for a ride.

Repeat as needed.

There are 20 miles of connected loops that range from fun and easy to technical and gnarly. Your registration fee buys you access to the all the bikes, lunches, shuttled rides, prizes, movies and entrance to our evening parties.”

You heard right – it’s Mountain Bike Season and we are kicking it off in Moab, Utah — a stone’s throw away from our hometown of Cortez, CO!

This weekend, March 13th-15th, join Osprey Packs and 20+ other bike industry companies for a weekend of demos, parties and over 20 miles of trail loops with options for every riders skill-set! Don’t miss any of the fantastic after hours events including free film premieres, Happy Hours and much more – check out the schedule of events for complete details.

While you’re getting your MTB season kicked off properly in Moab, don’t forget to stop by the Osprey Packs booth for some Outerbike Magic!

Here are just a few reason why you should stop by and say “HI” this weekend:

Find the Osprey pack of your Dreams - Our dedicated & knowledgeable event staff, Jeff and Patrick, would love to help you find the perfect match for your on the trail adventures. Stop by our booth to see a fullSyncro20_S15_Back_VelocityGreen line of Osprey Packs Bike products, ranging from our re-vamp downhill/enduro specific pack — the Zealot 15 — to our improved Syncro Series, which offers the Osprey ventilated AirSpeed™ suspension for those hot days on the trail.

Can’t make up your mind? Demo it! – We have options for everyone and will be offering product demos throughout the entire weekend so you’re sure to get the right gear for you. Experience the custom fit and functionality that Osprey is known for by taking one of our packs out on the trail. We’ll have a limited supply of day packs and reservoirs available for you to demo so don’t delay and be sure to stop by the booth to check them out!

Premiere Giveaways - Like free stuff? Well then our tent is the place to be. We’ll be handing out the exceptional Osprey coozies, chapsticks and much more!

Win a Pack! – Couldn’t be easier to enter in to win with our 3 minute event survey for a chance to win an Osprey Pack! We will announce a winner daily.

 

Active Lifestyle, Bike, Bikes Around the World, causes, Ditch Your Car, Events, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life, Outdoor Activities, Product, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Busby Yurt Raising

March 11th, 2015

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The weekend we raised our yurt this past summer was one of the most wild experiences of my life. Post-weekend, my knuckles were swollen, I would wake up nightly to unconsciously scratching of mosquito bites on my legs, and I had a handful of cuts and bruises that lasted a few weeks. But at the end of the day, we had a yurt!

The whole experience was, for the most part, smooth. It was challenging — yes. It was time consuming. But it was fun! And it was rad that we had friends come out and help with various parts of the raising. From hands-on help from the start, to homemade mojitos and jalapeño poppers mid-day, borrowed tools and a trailer, responses to frantic text messages… all the kindness from our support network here in Montana was slightly overwhelming.

For one, I learned that yurts are totally beginner friendly. With a little common sense and planning ahead, I really think anyone can do it. Our advantage came from first disassembling the yurt from the woman we purchased it from, and then building it back up again.

Initially, we called Hayes, the owner of Shelter Designs in Missoula, and asked him if we could hire him for the yurt raising, as the yurt we purchased was a Shelter Designs yurt. There are a lot of moving parts, and Hayes is a great crowd organizer… he knows what needs to get done. Obviously, he does this for a living. When Sean asked him, Hayes basically said (paraphrasing here), “I’m pretty busy this summer, but I think you guys can handle it. I’ll send you a DVD.”

I thought… A DVD. Really? What are we doing here, baking cookies or building a house?

But when we actually watched the DVD, we knew Hayes was right. It explained everything from start to finish, with super detailed instructions—exactly the things he would have been telling us had he been here. So we would do a few tasks on the yurt, and then watch some DVD on a laptop… go back to yurt stuff, have lunch, and watch a little more DVD. That got us through it. That DVD was the key to building our yurt.

Here are a few shots from the big day. Arranging the windows, doorways and lattice walls:

Our buddy Mikey, placing the tension cable through the tops of the lattice walls:

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The cable is made to fit our 30-foot yurt EXACTLY. Thus, it takes a bit of time to wiggle it through the lattice walls perfectly enough for this hook to actually lock.

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Brandon, Sean and Mikey, prepping to lift that ring (at their feet) above their heads and start placing the beams, which connect to the outer lattice walls. This is the most dangerous part of a yurt raising… those beams are heavy!

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A nervous smile from me on the ground. My job was to run around the yurt like a crazy woman, handing the guys one end of a beam, and placing the other end of the beam on the cable in the precise spot. Luckily, we only had a few tense moments, one of which involved a beam nailing me in the arm. I had a massive bruise to show for that one.

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Until the first five (maybe six) beams are up, it’s super tense because someone always has to be holding that ring up (which weighs a ton). It was a lot of arms-over-the-head action for those guys.

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Once the beams are in, it’s fun to put on the white lining (1st layer) and the insulation (2nd layer). Although, we were pretty lucky the sun was behind a cloud during this part… that insulation is like one big sun screen!

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Here was the HARDEST part of the day. Even harder than putting in the beams. That crescent roll up there is the outer canvas of the yurt and it weighs a million pounds. Maybe not a million, but it sure seemed like it. It took 4 of us to hoist it up to the scaffolding, and then a lot of grunting and groaning to get it out of the center ring and onto the roof. I won’t even go into the madness involved with trying to spread that thing out around the yurt. Again, if you’re building a NEW yurt, your canvas comes nice and folded — like, the size of a sleeping bag — and you roll it down easily over a designated opening. With ours? It was a bit of a jumble to get it looking good. It took us about three hours on just on this part.

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And after getting the top on, we had to then put on the side insulation panels and the side canvas panels. They were heavy, but nowhere near as heavy as the top. This part was also difficult because our yurt is so high off the ground, and we had to use lean-to ladders (as opposed to the A-frame ladders) to get as high as the top. Eventually, we splurged and bought a 12-foot ladder — which is KEY for 30-foot yurt maintenance.

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Then there was the dome, being pulled up the outside to the top:

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And then, behold the yurt in all her glory after the final pieces of the structure were on! All in all, these steps took us 1.5 days to complete. Yes, it’s THAT easy!

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Sean & Mollie Busby are Osprey Packs Ambassadors. Sean is a professional backcountry snowboarder. In 2004, while training for the 2010 Olympics, Sean endured a complicated diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Considering leaving snowboarding all together, Sean was inspired by reading stories of kids living with T1D that inspired him to keep living his dreams. He founded Riding On Insulin, a nonprofit, to honor all the kids who inspired him to keep living. In February 2014, Sean became the first person with T1D to backcountry snowboard all seven continents at the age of 29 in 2014. Mollie Busby graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Journalism and Retail. A series of life-changing events brought Mollie and Sean together in February 2010, and after five months, Mollie moved west. The pair was married in September, 2011 and now resides in a 30-foot yurt with their dogs, Daisy and Glacier, in Whitefish, Montana. For more, visit Two Sticks and a Board online, or follow Sean and Mollie on Instagram.

Active Lifestyle, Conservation, Guest post, Outdoor Activities , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Story of a Backcountry Underdog: Ski Blades

March 6th, 2015

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Here in Colorado the snow has been hit or miss, with heavy storms in December and basically non-existent snowfall in January for much of the west. As a result of the poor to mediocre skiing a dialogue began between myself and a couple co-workers. We began discussing couloir skiing and how reasonable it is for the time of year and how we might make it even better. Naturally ski blades were introduced into the conversation. If you’re not familiar with ski blades, simply imagine a pair of skis that instead of making it to your nose, barely make it to your hip.

A few days later the ski blades were on order and plans were made to pull touring bindings off of an old pair of skis to mount on the blades upon their arrival. All the while, heated discussions were had regarding the pros and cons of ski blades. Sure they’ll be more maneuverable in tight couloirs where jump turns will be made easy, but how will they do in powder, mixed snow conditions, how well balanced will they be for touring, will the bindings rip out? After chatting with another co-worker that happens to shoot professionally we decided it would be only reasonable to made a sweet short film about the future of backcountry touring and mountaineering.

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After the ski blades arrival we quickly got to work on grinding down screws so they wouldn’t go through the base when mounting new bindings, figuring out where on the ski to place the bindings (ended up mounting them 1cm back from center) as well as adjusting some kicker skins to fit the new setup. After a couple hours of work I was ready to set off on a three-day hut trip outside of Aspen, CO.

 

Three days later after dozens of miles of touring and skiing slopes up to 50 degrees psyche was higher than ever. Slapping the blades on my Kode ABS Compatible pack and boot packing up ridges was a breeze. Sure I fell many more times than I usually do, it took a bit more work to figure out the powder turns…but once I did I got twice as many as my friends. And don’t even get me started on the tours to and from the hut, those puppies weigh next to nothing and are not afraid to go fast.

 

In short the trip was a raging success, I anticipate spending many more days on the blades and I expect to start seeing more and more ski blades appear in the backcountry because they are the future.  DSC_9332

 

My name is Sam Feuerborn, and I have spent the last three years living in various vans in order to pursue my passions on my own schedule. Having grown up traveling and spending much of my formative years with my family outside hiking, camping and skiing it has been DSC_9344-Edita natural transition to embrace the dirtbag lifestyle.With many of my adventures fueled my coffee and stoke, I like to keep the van well stocked. With this addictive I have spent months at a time climbing in the desert, hitchhiking through Africa, mountain biking through the San Juans, backcountry skiing in the Elks, climbing in Yosemite as well as countless games of Settlers of Catan around the world. I have been lucky enough to embrace this lifestyle and make it work thanks to the support of countless friends and strangers alike, encouraging me to think outside the box and play as often as possible.

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Earn Your Turns: 101 Months in a Row

March 1st, 2015

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From suncups to blower pow, huge peaks to bunny hills, North Vancouver brothers Mike and Andy Traslin have been consecutively earning their turns every month of the year for the past…wait for it… 101 months. They’re not alone in the endless pursuit of ‘turns all year,’ but they sure are passionate about it.

The quest for earning your backcountry ‘turns all year’ is especially popular with zealous skiers and riders in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and of course here at home in BC. With huge peaks holding snow year round, especially the Cascade Volcanoes, it almost makes you wonder why every skier doesn’t do it.

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Like Mike says — if you’re really jonesing for some ski turns in the fall, why wait? Just go do it!

In celebration of Mike & Andy’s 101th month (and hopefully hundreds more to come) here is a quick freeflow of thoughts from Mike, and some image highlights from the last 30 or so months: Read more…

Active Lifestyle, adventure, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Life, Outdoor Activities, Snowsports, travel, Travel, video , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winter Stars: Astrophotography in New England

February 27th, 2015

 

Fritz_Bacon_Kode_32_Night_Sky_Osprey_Packs.jpgI’ve been shooting photos ever since I can remember, but after watching a video a few years ago where the Milky Way sprawled out above a mirror-like lake, I knew I had to try my hand at astrophotography.

It’s not everyday that you get to see the stars clearly when living in New England.  I learned this the hard way when I moved out East after living in Colorado for 15 years.  It was a whole new world, one that was rainy, cloudy and whose inhabitants were not nearly as friendly.  Luckily for me I chose to attend the University of Connecticut, which at certain times of the year has a decent enough view of stars for me to get the shots that I want.

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The past few months I have been venturing out into UConn’s woods armed with a 120-lumen flashlight, my Osprey Packs Kode 32 packed with all my camera gear and the ever-important thermal underwear.  I try to venture out each week when the conditions are ideal; I’m talking no clouds and little moonlight to get the clearest possible shot.  This winter has offered a good amount of chances to get out and shoot.  It is an amazing feeling to venture out in the dead of night to gaze up into the sky — especially when everything is silent, muffled by the recent snow. Read more…

Active Lifestyle, Guest post, Hiking, photos, Snowsports , , , , , , , , , ,

Plan B on Gutless Wonder 5.14b

February 9th, 2015
Ben Rueck on Gutless Wonder -- 5.14b, Fault Wall, Puoux -- Glenwood Springs, CO

Ben Rueck on Gutless Wonder — 5.14b, Fault Wall, Puoux — Glenwood Springs, CO

 

If there’s one thing you can count on during any photo or video shoot, it’s that you can’t count on anything.  It was a simple enough plan: Get together with a couple of pro climbers, film them on one of the most exquisite routes in SW Colorado, have some good times, then head on home.  Mission complete.

Don’t get me wrong, just like any other shoot, there was a ton of logistical planning involved.  Multiple shotlists were written.  Engineering obstacles on how to safely and effectively rig cameras on an overhanging 5.13+ finger crack were tackled.  Assistants were hired.  Groceries were bought.  Sleeping accommodations were booked.  Truck was packed full of camera gear, rigging equipment and a case of home-brew. All ducks were in a militant little row.

As I rolled into Grand Junction, I found myself driving straight into the inhospitable embrace of a winter storm, stoke level dropping faster than the mercury.

Now, you may be asking yourself, ‘Dan, during all of your careful planning, why didn’t you bother to check the weather report?’

Ahh, that’s a wonderful question.  You see, while a blustery curtain of white obscured our view of the great sandstone splitters of Escalante Canyon, the current weather forecast insisted that we were standing under clear, sunny skies.

Knowing exactly what to do in situations like this, I opened up the tailgate, pushed the case of homebrew aside and reached for a flask of bourbon.  It was time for Plan B.

The problem was, we had no ‘Plan B.’
Plan A= Amazing.  Plan B=Not so much

The crew, consisting of Ben Rueck, Sam Feuerborn, Mayan Smith-Gobat and I, decided to head back to town with our tails between our legs. As the truck warmed up and took the chill from our bones, we moaned about the seeping and now unprotectable cracks that would take days to dry…even if the sun were shining.  Options were few.  Indian Creek would surely be in the same, sad condition.  Likewise for Moab.

It was then that Mayan chimed in with her charming Kiwi accent, “It’ll be cold, but why not shoot the Puoux?”  Of course!  Among the overhanging limestone walls of Glenwood Springs, there was a gem of a climb called ‘Gutless Wonder.’  The route, which took two agonizing years of Ben’s life to complete, would offer just enough shelter from the roving mountain storm…probably.  I could see the pain on Ben’s face as soon as it was mentioned. It was a route he thought was in the rearview, one which he had never expected to revisit this soon, if ever again.  Having sent the route less than a year before, the wounds were still fresh in his mind.

We took refuge in a local coffee shop, closing the door on the thick clouds that loomed in the cold, dark sky. As Ben and I scribbled out a shot list, we faced the fact that this would be a run and gun mission. We’d be attempting to film a 5.14b route in single digit temps on the side of Colorado’s busiest & loudest highway. Because we were shooting on the Winter Solstice, the shortest of all days, we would only have a four hour window to film the entire piece. It would be rough, but we now had a plan B.

The wintery conditions were actually perfect. Well, maybe not for Ben – but definitely for the shoot.  The thick buffer of clouds diffused the intense Colorado sun, providing us with soft, even light.  As it turned out, this high mountain weather painfully echoed the same conditions Ben endured when he finally sent Gutless in 2014, so the agony you see in this video is quite authentic.

 

 

My name is holz2Dan Holz, and I have the good fortune of being the staff photographer for Osprey Packs.  Photography has been a passion of mine since grade school and I’ve used it as a vehicle to take me everywhere from my backyard in Colorado to the lush jungles of Borneo and the glaciated landscapes of Patagonia. People often ask if I have a ‘specialty.’  It’s kind of a tough question, because while I specialize in active lifestyle and mountain sport photography, I find myself chasing the magic light more than anything else.  If the face of a Nepali farmer is suddenly cast in the beautiful shadow of contrast, I become a portrait photographer in that moment.  Or if a setting sun embraces a rice paddy outside of Chiang Mai, for an instant I’m a landscape photographer. As a photographer, I am always exploring self-expression and pushing the limits of what I – and my camera – can do.  It’s a passion, it’s a job, it’s a lifestyle all wrapped up in a single package.  And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

Active Lifestyle, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities , , , , , , , , , ,

Around the World: Alison Gannett’s Favorite Places to Ski

February 4th, 2015

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I’m often asked about my favorite places to ski, so here are some of my recommendations from around the world:

Kootnay Mountains, British Columbia’s Red Mountain Resort and Whitewater Resorts:
While I love almost all of the skiing in BC, I’m choosing this area because of the consistently great snow that adheres to rocks, GREAT ski towns, the friendliest locals, phenomenally varied steep terrain, affordability and easy access (flights to Spokane,Washington,USA and short drive across border). When folks ask me if and where I have a pass, I respond that I don’t, but if I did I wish it was here and I wish I could live in Nelson or Rossland! Almost nowhere in the world have I experienced pillows like those in Steep Roots at Red Mountain, or powder that felt like backcountry but was actually inbounds like in Whitewater. It’s no wonder I choose to spend most of my season at these two places and that I run most of my Steep Skiing Camps in the Kootnays. What I also adore is the non-resort vibe at these towns/ski areas – reminds me of my childhood at Crotched Mountain New Hampshire. This is skiing as it should be.

Tip: Don’t miss the $25 dorm rooms at the Adventure Hotel or pay-as-you can or trade for rooms at Angie’s B&B. Don’t forget about the great slackcountry — bring all your backcountry gear almost every day to these areas.

 

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Verbier, Switzerland + Chamonix, France or La Grave + Serre Chevalier, France:
I’m mushing these together because different folks may want one over the other or, ideally, both. Both are beyond words when using the lifts to access the backcountry. When I want to scare myself, I go to ski the couloirs in Cham. Besides Argentina, I don’t think I’ve ever almost peed my pants like when we skied the Rhonde when icy, and a guide died that day in the couloir next door in the same hour. I’ve also skied almost 7,000 feet of blower snow in a chute almost all to ourselves. Verbier also has epic backcountry off the lifts, but it is more wide open peak to peak adventure skiing and if you want to end up at a place with a bus or train back where you started, hire a guide or make a good friend at the bar. Another strong contender in this category is La Grave (pucker factor even higher than Cham) and Serre Chevalier (OMG steep trees/spines).

Tip: Be prepared to always wear a harness/crevasse rescue gear and use a rope frequently. Make sure to have great maps and at least two ski touring guides.
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Manali, Indian Himalayas:

Typical response, “what Mountains are there?” Duh, they’re the HIMALAYAS, only the greatest, tallest and most epic mountain range in the WORLD. But great mountains don’t always make for a great skiing experience. Case in point, I adore skiing in the Chugatch Range of Alaska (Valdez, etc), but the rest – grey weather, greasy food, epic down time, heli expense, lack of trees for backcountry hiking on gray days, etc.) don’t contribute to my absolute favorite overall experience. Manali is an breathtaking Indian honeymoon destination, which changes everything. Epically tasty and inexpensive cuisine, no AK47’s like Kashmir/Gulmarg, colorful and almost weekly Buddhist and Hindu  festivals, 5-star lodging and service at a budget hostel expense, Colorado-like weather/snow with Utah-like Intercontinental snowpack, and the mountains? Well, need I say more? Don’t leave home without: CR Spooner’s book “Ski Touring India’s Kullu Valley.”

Tip: Use airline miles for dirt bag trip sidetrip and go surfing in Sri Lanka!
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To Be Continued…

 

Osprey Athlete ALISON GANNETT is a self-sufficient farmer, World Champion Extreme FreeSkier, mountain biker, award-winning global cooling consultant and founder of the multiple non-profits. In addition to being an athlete, ambassador and keynote speaking, Alison runs KEEN Rippin Chix Camps which offer women’s steep skiing, biking and surf camps around the globe. She has starred in many movies, TV shows, and magazines receiving many awards for her work including National Geographic’s “Woman Adventurer of the Year,” Powder Magazine’s “48 Greatest Skiers of All Time,” and Outside Magazine’s “Green All-Star of the Year.”  In 2010, she and her husband Jason bought Holy Terror Farm, kicking off their next chapter of personal health and self-sustainability.

Active Lifestyle, Osprey Athletes, Snowsports , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Moto Diary – A Trip through Columbia by Motorcycle

January 12th, 2015

Osprey Packs Ambassador Matt Hayes is a resident of Boulder, Colorado as far as the postal service knows. Since graduating from the University of Colorado he’s actually lived in 3 different states and 5 countries. Matt learned the intricacies of broadcast production and still photography in college, how to twirl wrenches working in bike shops for a decade, and how to race mountain bikes by getting beaten all the time. His other skills include playing the saxophone, jumping off cliffs into powder fields, rocking a mohawk, and eating nachos with two hands while riding a bike. He is a certified EMT, is currently enjoying a budding “career,” and shortly will commence saving the world. 

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While Colorado is an amazing place to live, Autumn can be a bit boring as the bike trails get a blanket of snow but haven’t collected quite enough to start skiing. Consequently, I decided to spend a few months this Fall in South America guiding mountain bike trips and riding through Colombia on a 125cc two-stoke motorcycle.

I left my temporary home in San Gil, Colombia and headed north towards the coast. Honestly, I didn’t really expect my 1996 Yamaha DT to survive the trip. A favorite model of the drug-runners in the mid-90’s, my motorcycle had already had two gaskets leak, the clutch fail, and the throttle seize in the two months I had owned it.

I was a little surprised and completely overjoyed when I pulled into the Costeño Beach hostel outside of Santa Marta. After a few days frolicking on the beach I set off towards Riohacha.Beach Moto

The highway hugged the coast line and every hill crested led to a beautiful beachfront view. It was gorgeous and I eventually had to force myself to stop taking pictures for fear I wouldn’t actually complete any mileage.

I shouldn’t have worried so much – about an hour later the road turned flat, straight, and hot. I cruised to the city of Riohacha, got some lunch, and took a dirt road out of town that led straight into an impassible river. Negotiating a different route out of the city, I saw a sign for The Beaches of Mayapo. I remembered seeing a map of a small road that wound along the beach ending up in Quatro Vias which I wanted to check out so I followed the sign.

The road surface was one of the best I had encountered in Colombia so I figured it was a main road, which was good because I knew I was low on gas. The long sweeping corners with nothing to obstruct the view allowed me to push the little 125 as fast as it would go. I was having a blast until the road suddenly, without warning, turned to a network of spidering dirt trails.

Roadside3This was completely outside my frame of reference. How does a main road disintegrate to unmarked trails within a meter? There was no town, no turn around point, no road signs. All I could do was shrug and go back the way I came.

As the sun set I flirted with the idea of camping for the night but ultimately decided to find a cheap hotel. The road was just as fun on the way back and I was feeling euphoric until the bike sputtered and died as it ran out of gas. Exasperation set in.

I started pushing the bike until I found two security guards chatting by a school. I told them I needed gas and they answered in the most accent-riddled Spanish I have ever heard. I couldn’t even understand the word for “10.” Luckily they understood me fine and eventually we worked out that one of them would walk about 2km with me to a cluster of homes where some guy had some gas.

One of the main features I like on the Osprey Farpoint is the removable daypack. It’s perfectly sized to hold my valuables without being bulky, and it can stow inside the main pack if there’s room which is how I had been traveling. I grabbed the small pack and we started walking down sand footpaths into the dark. I was sure I was going to get gas or get robbed, but I had no idea which one.

After several random turns we arrived at a trailer where a disheveled man showed us to a locked shed. He opened it, and as his flashlight darted around I saw 10 or 15 five-gallon containers all presumably filled with gasoline. He sold us a few gallons which I lugged back.

With new gas the bike fired right up and, after thanking the guards profusely, I backtracked towards Riohacha yet again.

I was exhausted, sick, anxious, and even a bit scared as I followed the deserted road but the stars overhead were mesmerizing. I stopped, turned off the bike, and starred at them for a few minutes. I felt like I was on a big journey but I was only venturing arouRoadside1nd one part of one country on one planet. I felt far from home, but my DT125 topped out around 70kmh and I had only been riding for a few days. The star light had been traveling at a billion kmh for 100’s or 1000’s of years to get to the same spot. Granted – light doesn’t have to deal with running out of gas, getting directions, mechanical failures, or FARC kidnappings, but it still made me feel infinitesimally small and my problems even smaller.

I stopped at the first hotel I found, and with thoughts of all the problems that day juxtaposing the immensity of the universe I climbed into bed excited for the next day’s adventure.

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